This is February, 2016. The car is a 1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic with 84K miles. REALLY. 84K. It's my 3d Cherokee. Prior a 2000 and a 2001 Cherokee Limited. I sold the 2000 to a friend when it had 160K. He reports just this week that he's at 245K and still going! The 2001 was much the same. These cars are, by my way of thinking, absolutely bulletproof.
Now. 1998 Cherokee Classic. The only addition to the car is a set of 2000 Limited alloy 16" wheels. Other than that, just as it came from the factory.
Within a week of this last purchase, the turn signals just stopped. I bought a $15.00 flasher relay, and back to the road! Of the three I have owned, this was the first electrical problem I have encountered.
It handles like a Jeep. Not the best, but predictable as the sunrise. Never let me down. Goes where it's pointed. Never stuck, and NEVER left on the side of the road waiting for a tow. When the A/C is charged, you can almost hang meat in the front seats! The heater is capable of burning your feet. The radio is really not bad (the 2000 had the good stereo with door mounted tweeters and and amp under the back seat...that was REALLY great). I wish it had a CD, but I wish I were taller...neither of those things are going to happen, so the radio is fine.
This is a SIMPLE car. Point/coil ignition. Climate control with cables. They're adjustable. Not like the vacuum operated controls. Manual 4WD engagement. Everything in the cabin is push-pull-click. No push-pull-click? Replace switch. Repeat. Read the gauges.
DO REGULAR MAINTENANCE! Change the oil (You don't need a lift, or a jack). Don't forget the auto trans, transfer case and the two differentials (I do them every 50,000 miles, but I'm obsessive). Lube the suspension zirks. How hard is THIS?
I guess I rant. But as long as I can get these, I'll keep buying them. They're getting rare, but they're findable (I made that word up) with a little searching.
The car looks good. Anywhere. Party in the high end part of town? Fine. Running down a dirt road producing billowing clouds of dirt? Fine. Axle-deep snow? Smile. You look good and you ain't stuck! By the way, this is essentially a new car!
The long and short of it is, this car is a throwback to a simpler time when things broke but could be fixed with a pretty sparse toolbox. My dad the engineer said these cars operated with "tractor technology".
Under the hood it's all simple.
February, 2017 UPDATE
15,000 miles later the usual stuff. The A/C evaporator, dryer, and heater core were replaced. After 3 of these cars, I think I can surmise that it's certain these components fail after 15 years.
Had transmission flushed, and both differentials and transfer case drained and refilled.
Fog lamp and rear window washer/wiper switches replaced.
So one year out I've spent a little over $1,000.00 on maintenance items.
Total into this car is $10,500 and I expect at least 3-5 more years before I sell it for $4,000.00.
I have owned a cherokee for 5 years. i paid $2k for it and have invested in a 3in rough country suspension lift and 30in yokohama geolander AT tires. not a hill in arizona i need to go up and havent been able too. ive never had to turn around on a trail. keep in mind jeeps are built not bought. i hear stories of peoples jeep bugging out on them early ill tell you first hand its because the owner did something wrong. 4.0 straight 6 are bullet proof. economic and powerful. from the trail
to the road. there will always be a cherokee in my garage even if its not a primary. not enough room to say all the things i want about it. jeep cherokee's refuse to die. remember theyre built not bought.
Unreal. Simply unreal. Owned since June 1998 and with nearly half million trouble free miles of hard Chicago winners and hot summers it's hard to stomach buying anything else because nothing will top this reliability or prowess in harsh winter weather. I can't even stomach looking at whatever these new "jeeps" are....maybe I'll just grab another straight six Cherokee!
After getting in a head on collision with a suburban, where all air bags for both cars deployed. The jeeps frame may have been slightly damaged, but I was perfect without a scratch. Only going 30mph the jeep actually pushed the front end of the suburban, aiming it into the other side of the road where it should have been in the first place. Insurance gave me $500 more than my original jeep was worth, which had 130,000 miles on it. I did not hesitate and found another cherokee with a 4.0L inline 6 engine, 4 doors, and 4 wheel drive. When you step on the gas peddle you feel the power, it's nothing like the V-6 engines out today. It may only get about 13 miles per gallon, but it's well worth it.
Mainly, if you're a car guy or someday want to be, this is the car for you. Knowing simply how to use tools, I've fixed most issues myself, learning a lot about how cars work in the process. The overall build of the jeep is very simple; with any issue it simply takes a youtube search and a replacement part.